War on Terrorism

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- August 27, 2008

Managers brace for ’09 budget delays
“Most experts expect the government will run on continuing resolutions for the early part of the coming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. So managers are already bracing for the impact of no increase in budgets. At the
Homeland Security Department, it likely means delays in moving to a new headquarters; at the Health and Human Services Department, interruptions in plans to beef up pandemic flu preparedness […] At Health and Human Services, a continuing resolution would interrupt delivery of more than $600 million for pandemic flu preparedness and another $1 billion in bioterrorism preparedness. […] Depending on how long it lasts, a continuing resolution could also mean delays for construction of the consolidated DHS headquarters at the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus in Southeast Washington. The General Services Administration is scheduled to start building the Coast Guard headquarters — the first phase of the project — in 2009.” (Federal Times; 26Aug08; Gregg Carlstrom)

Suspicious package found on Genesee St. [Utica,
New York]
“A suspicious package discovered Monday near the entrance of Adirondack Bank on North Genesee Street in the city turned out to only contain corroded batteries, Utica fire officials said. […] was considered suspicious because it had been sitting near the entrance since Monday morning and nobody knew why it was there, Dunn said. Fire Chief Russell Brooks said the
police and fire department followed their protocol by both responding to the scene. ‘We’ve done that ever since the anthrax scares,’ Brooks said.” (Observe Dispatch; 26Aug08) http://www.uticaod.com/archive/x633545838/Suspicious-package-found-on-Genesee-St

Afghan Officials Detain American Boy, U.S. Says
“U.S. authorities said yesterday that Afghan officials have detained since mid-July an 11-year-old U.S. citizen, the son of a Pakistani woman accused of firing at Afghan and U.S. personnel there. […] In a letter to the family of Aafia Siddiqui, a suspected al-Qaeda operative who is in U.S. custody, federal prosecutors said photos and DNA tests strongly suggest that the youngster in Afghan custody is Siddiqui's son, Ahmed. The boy was detained July 18 when Afghan
police arrested Siddiqui in what they described as a shootout near a government compound in Ghazni. […] The FBI had spent years seeking information on Siddiqui, a U.S.-educated neuroscientist who officials feared was an al-Qaeda operative with knowledge of biological weapons.” (Washington Post; 26Aug08; Carol D. Leonnig & Candace Rondeaux)

Health bill factors in bio-terror
“Titled Public Health (Prevention, Control and Management of Epidemics, Bioterrorism and Disasters) Bill, the act, after cabinet approval, will finally get to replace the 100-year old Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, providing for better epidemic and disaster management - a critical requirement of the times. Naturally, it will for the first time address grave public health issues, including Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), which India, like other nations, should have recognised much earlier. […] The Act, in its present form, lists 32 epidemic prone diseases and 34 potential bioterrorism agents like the smallpox virus that can be spread from person to person and, anthrax, among others. The importance of the new legislation lies in its enhanced punishment for allowing diseases to spread.” (Tribune News Service; 25Aug08; Aditi Tandon) http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080826/main7.htm

New Oral Vaccine May Protect Against Bubonic Plague
“Researchers from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France used a less virulent ancestor to the highly infectious bubonic plague to develop a potentially safe, efficient and inexpensive live oral vaccine. […] They report their findings in the August 2008 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity. […] ‘We report that oral inoculation with a Y.
pseudotuberculosis strain, selected for its very low virulence, induces an efficient immunity against bubonic plague without causing adverse reactions,’ say the researchers. ‘This demonstrates that a live attenuated Y. pseudotuberculosis can be a promising vaccine against bubonic plague.’” (Infection Control Today; 26Aug08)

Lawmakers proud of decision about BGCA’s response [Madison County,
“A recent policy change at the Blue Grass Chemical Activity (BGCA), located at the Blue Grass
Army Depot, has received accolades from U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Sixth District, and Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, R-Ky. In July, former BGCA Commander Lt. Col. Thomas Closs, submitted a proposal which would have rescinded a policy mandating that all local emergency responders be informed of nerve agent leaks within five minutes. However, outcry from community leaders and elected officials helped retain this current safety policy. ‘The senators and I look forward to the final, safe disposal of these chemical weapons, but we must not forget about the immediate safety of the citizens in Madison County and the surrounding area,’ Chandler said.” (Richmond Register; 27Aug08; Ronica

China urges Japan to remove chemical weapons abandoned during WWII
“‘We expect Japan to do its utmost to quicken the process of removing abandoned chemical weapons and wipe out the related threats at an early date,’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing. Qin's comments came after a court in Tokyo on Monday heard the case concerning two school boys from northeastern China's Jilin Province, who were in 2004 injured by chemical weapons left by Japanese troops […]” (Xinhua; 28Aug08; Editor Yao)

Smiths Detection Security Technologies Selected by U.S. Postal Inspection Service for Mobile Screening
“Smiths Detection, part of the global technology business Smiths Group, today announced that a number of its security technologies have been included in the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Mobile Mail Screening Station (MMSS). The Postal Inspection Service will debut the MMSS at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. […] The GID-3 (24/7), an ambient air monitoring system […] will […] continuously examine the air inside the MMSS for toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) and Chemical Warfare Agents CWA’s. […] The HazMatID portable system used to identify unknown powders, liquids, pastes and gels found in and around the MMSS. […]”
(Business Wire; 27Aug08; David Olsen)

Accused Terrorist Sues Norway
“The bizarre saga began when Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, better known as Mullah Krekar, fled an onslaught by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's forces in 1991. Krekar, who had been a member of a Kurdish Islamist militant group battling both the Iraqi regime and the largest Kurdish resistance organisation Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), arrived in Norway, where he was granted refugee status. So far so good, but Krekar did not rest on his laurels, according to the U.S., and officials in Kurdish Iraq. Instead, they say, he returned to Iraq on several occasions during the 1990s to help support Islamic militant organisations. […] It has also been accused of masterminding several attacks against Kurdish officials in 2001 and 2003, including suicide bombings, although U.S. allegations that Krekar personally ordered suicide bombings and controlled a chemical weapons factory have never been proven. […] [A Washington Post] article claims the U.S. sent undercover CIA agents to Oslo to abduct Krekar in 2003 -- with quiet acquiescence by the Norwegian government […]” Inter Press Service; 27Aug08; Tarjei Kidd Olsen)

Sri Lanka advances on rebel base
“After 25 years of fighting and 70,000 casualties, Sri Lanka's
military has won a hard-fought upper hand against separatist Tamil Tigers – and now vows to break their northern stronghold by year's end. […] In January, the government abandoned a Norway-brokered cease-fire and said it would defeat the Tigers by the end of the year. It has since poured $1.5 billion into an all-out offensive that has killed about 6,000 rebels and shrunk their territory in the island's northern Wanni region by nearly 75 percent, according to the Ministry of Defense. […] The military says some advance units are now within artillery range of Kilinochchi, where Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran is thought to be hiding […] One Colombo-based analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity, points out that Prabhakaran is a master tactician who still commands hundreds of ultra-loyal fighters protecting him and possibly even chemical weapons.” (Christian Science Monitor; 28Aug08; Jason Motlagh) http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0828/p07s01-wosc.html

China chemical plant blast death toll rises to five
“A total of five people died, 55 others were injured and 14 were missing after a chemical plant exploded in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region early on Tuesday, rescuers said. […] The plant is in a development zone of Yizhou City, a four-hour car drive from the regional capital of Nanning. The fire, yet to be extinguished, was under control, said Ma Dewen, chief of the region's firefighters general squad. He said about 11,500 people, living within 3 km of the plant, owned by Guangxi Guangwei Chemical Co., were evacuated after the explosion. […] More than 100 anti-chemical warfare professionals were dispatched to the explosion site to scrutinize if there were any explosive chemicals left.” (China Daily; 26Aug08; Source: Xinhua) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-08/26/content_6972661.htm

Vaxin developing game-changing flu vaccine
“A small Birmingham,
Alabama company, Vaxin, is testing a revolutionary new flu vaccine that could lessen or end flu vaccine shortages, getting the wrong mix of strains, and fears of deadly pandemic flu. […] The way the vaccine is made could help prevent flu shortages or getting the wrong strains, which happened last year. Vaxin’s flu vaccine is made from cell cultures rather than produced in chicken eggs. […] The use of cell culture manufacturing eliminates the possibility of contamination with the avian flu virus, a risk inherent in egg-based production. The Vaxin process provides higher yields, greater quantities in a faster timeframe, and more reliable manufacturing than the egg-based process.” (Tech Journal South; 26Aug08; Allan Maurer)

Group launches dirty-bomb awareness effort
“The threat posed by a possible dirty-bomb attack in a U.S. city has prompted the creation of a new coalition aimed at raising public awareness. A nationwide group of emergency first responders and
Homeland Security experts, along with business and health leaders, announced the launch of the Radiological Threat Awareness Coalition. Officials say the non-profit R-TAC's primary focus will be to increase the American public's understanding of the dangers posed by the threat of a radiological attack in the United States, R-TAC said in a release.” (Middle East Times; 26Aug08)

Indictment filed in Lake in the Hills [
Illinois] puffer fish toxin case
“A Lake in the Hills man arrested after obtaining large quantities of a rare and lethal puffer fish toxin intended to use the deadly substance as a weapon, according to a federal indictment filed Tuesday. Edward F. Bachner IV, 35, could face life in prison if found guilty of five counts of unlawful possession of tetrodotoxin alleging he obtained the poison five times between November 2006 and June 30 for use as a weapon. The indictment, filed shortly before Bachner appeared in court Tuesday, does not state how or upon whom he intended to use the substance.” (Daily Herald; 26Aug08; Charles Keeshan)

Powder scare empties Ffld. [Fairfield,
Connecticut] Theater
“Suspicious white powder in a letter mailed to the Fairfield Theatre Co. prompted the evacuation of the group's downtown building this afternoon. The substance turned out to be harmless.
police Capt. Robert Comers said the department received a call from Miles Merrick, manager of the theater company on Sanford Street, about 1:30 p.m. […] The Haz-Mat team and DEP personnel donned protective suits before entering the building and testing the powder to determine if it was laced with anthrax or another dangerous substance.” (CNN Post; 26Aug08; Genevieve Reilly) http://www.connpost.com/breakingnews/ci_10308080

Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD Terrorism.

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